The Main Menu: With the holidays over, January is the month for soups and chowders

Haddock and Mushroom Chowder is a great option on a cold winter's day in January. Photo by Jan Main.


You know Christmas is over when the turkey carcass is in the pot simmering away to make stock!

This year, I opted for a large roasting chicken. As you can imagine, Christmas was downsized and the smaller bird made more sense. However, the technique to make stocks is the same for both turkey and chicken.

It is the basis for hearty soup to weather the coldest winter day and chase away the blues – the final Christmas present!

Basic Turkey or Chicken Stock
(necessary for the soup)

Remove any turkey (chicken) meat left on the bones; cover and refrigerate to be added to the soup after stock is completed.

The turkey or chicken carcass can be broken in half at the rib cage to take up less space in the saucepan and allow better coverage with water. Be sure to use cold water not warm when covering the carcass. Cold water draws out the flavour from the bones. Only use enough water to cover the carcass. If you use too much; it will make a watery soup, lacking in flavour.

1 carcass, turkey or chicken broken to fit into the saucepan
cold water to cover (at least 4- 6 cups- /1- 1 1/2 L) more for a bigger carcass
1 large carrot, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 celery, coarsely chopped
1 large onion, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 bay leaf
1 tsp (5 mL) leaf thyme
1/4 cup (50 mL) fresh parsley with stalks

In a large saucepan or Dutch oven, arrange carcass, cover with cold water. Add carrot, celery, onion, bay leaf, thyme and parsley sprigs. Bring to boil; reduce heat and simmer uncovered 1 to 1 ½ hours.

Pour stock through sieve into large container or another saucepan. (Discard all the solids, veggies and bay leaf, their flavour is now in the stock.) Cover and refrigerate. When chilled, skim off fat and discard. Stock is now ready for soup.

Stock may be used immediately or packed into plastic containers, labelled and frozen for up to three months for future use.

Turkey or Chicken Soup

Reserved turkey or chicken, cut into bite size pieces
6 cups (1 1/2 L) turkey or chicken stock (more stock if you have it)
2 carrots, peeled and diced
2 celery stalks, finely diced
1 onion, chopped
1/2 cup (125mL) rice or barley
1 bay leaf
1 tsp (5 mL) each, thyme or tarragon and grated lemon rind (optional)
1/4 cup (50 mL) fresh chopped parsley
1 tsp (5 mL) salt
1/4 tsp (1 mL) fresh black pepper
In large saucepan or Dutch oven add: turkey stock, carrots, celery, onion, rice, bay leaf, thyme, lemon if using.

Bring to boil; reduce heat and simmer about 40 minutes or just until rice is tender. Stir in reserved turkey, parsley. salt and pepper. Taste. Add more salt and pepper if necessary. Serve at once. Serves 4.

Haddock and Mushroom Chowder

A chowder is a robust soup usually with chunks of potato, other vegetables and in this case fresh or frozen haddock.

It is substantial enough to serve as dinner if accompanied by a salad and crusty bread. This chowder was made with great success over the holidays with delicious results. I hope you enjoy it too!

2 tbsp (25 mL) butter
1 leek, thinly sliced
1 clove of garlic, minced
2 cups (500mL) fresh, cleaned, sliced mushrooms, cremini or white
2 carrots, peeled and diced
2 celery, diced
2-3 potatoes, peeled and cubed (1/2 inch/1.2 cm)
1 L chicken stock
1-2 tsp (15 mL) finely chopped fresh tarragon
2 tsp (10 mL) grated lemon rind
1 cup (250 mL) dry white wine
1 bay leaf
1 lb (500 g) fresh or frozen haddock cut into 1- inch (2.5 cm) pieces
1/4 cup (50 mL) fresh chopped parsley

In large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium high heat, melt butter. Stir in leek, garlic and mushrooms. Cook covered until leeks are wilted then stir in carrots, celery and potatoes.

Cook stirring about 2 minutes. Stir in stock, tarragon, lemon rind, wine and bay leaf. Cook about 20 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Season with salt and pepper. Just before serving stir in fish. Cook about 3 minutes or until tender.

Stir in parsley. Serve immediately. Makes 4 servings.

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